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There is no highly effective remedy for hiccups when the problem is brief. People who have hiccups for long periods of time or who experience them frequently are sometimes prescribed medication or even surgery, which can be at least partially effective. Normal hiccups must simply be tolerated, as they usually go away on their own. One benefit of using a remedy for hiccups is that the remedy often takes a person's mind off the problem long enough to make it go away. Even so, most remedies are actually urban legends about curing hiccups and have no basis in medicine.
One commonly prescribed remedy for hiccups is drinking water upside down. A number of legends relating to water and hiccups exist, some including straws or standing on one's head. These techniques may be distracting and time consuming enough to be effective, but they can also be dangerous if someone does not exercise caution.
Breathing into a paper bag is sometimes used as a remedy for hiccups. Other breathing exercising, such as taking seven slow breaths, may also be effective. Even holding a person's breath is sometimes recommended as a cure for the hiccups.
Some more ridiculous cures for hiccups include scaring them out of a person, listening to a specific song on repeat, and drinking water while covering one's ears. These cures have no basis in fact whatsoever and do not affect any of the muscles related to hiccups. They are, however, highly effective at distracting a person with hiccups from the problem at hand, particularly when the cures are difficult to perform.
In general, normal hiccups do not last very long. Typically, they last only a few minutes, but they can last as long as a day without indicating a major problem. Waiting can be irritating, particularly because hiccups can be very loud, but truly the only remedy for normal hiccups is to wait for them to go away. When hiccups last for longer than two days, they can be considered serious.
For serious hiccups that last for days, a medication called thorazine can be used to stop the hiccups. While thorazine is usually used first, other medications may be tried if thorazine is not found effective. Surgery may be necessary if no medication is found effective, but this is unusual. As hiccups can be caused by an underlying condition, the best remedy for hiccups that won't go away is to get rid of the underlying condition.